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Purim: A Time to Let Go and Have Fun

Purim: A Time to Let Go and Have Fun

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Purim is a unique holiday on the Jewish calendar because it's a holiday of joy. 

'Hold it', you're probably thinking to yourself, 'Aren't nearly all Jewish holidays holidays of joy?' From celebrating the new year on Rosh Hashanah, to commemorating our miraculous journey through the desert on Sukkot, to finishing the Torah on Simchat Torah, to Chanukah and Passover - aren't they all supposed to be celebrated with joy? Of course they are! So how is Purim different?

Purim is different because the joy on Purim is the holiday. Unlike the other holidays that have different Mitzvahs, rituals and traditions, all of which should be celebrated joyfully, Purim has just one point: joy.

While there are four Mitzvahs that one must do on Purim (1- hear the Megillah, 2- send gifts of food to friends, 3- give money to poor people, 4- have a festive meal), the underlying reasoning for all four is all to enhance the joyful spirit of the day. 

The reason for this is because when joy is dependent on a reason, no matter how good the reason is, it is a limited joy that expires as soon as the reason does. But Judaism sees life itself as a reason to be happy. Be happy because God made you, because you're human being, because you're a Jew, because the sun is shining. Be happy because you're you.

This is why Jewish law actually requires that Purim be celebrated until you can't remember whether Haman (who tried to kill all the Jews) was the bad guy and Mordechai (who, together with Esther, saved the Jews) was the good guy or vice versa. In short, we're supposed to seriously party and forget, if only for 24 hours, everything else. Don't party because you have a reason to party - just party! 

As human beings we're quite intelligent creatures, or at least we think we are. We live life often thinking that we know best, we got it all under control, and any mishaps can usually be blamed on someone else.

But you know what? Sometimes we have to let go. Turn off the computer, put the phone and Ipad down, and just have fun. Forget about the neighbor's annoying dog who never stops barking, the contractor who overcharged for the kitchen renovations or the co-worker who wants your job.

Sure, Purim is a holiday with lots of great reasons to celebrate. The evil Haman was deposed and the Jews were saved. But the Jewish sages at the time passed a brilliant piece of legislation when they signed the HFPA (Have Fun on Purim Act). (That's a joke, it was inscribed in the Talmud). 'We want you to celebrate and really enjoy the holiday', they said. So you know what? Forget Haman, forget it all. Just let go, take a deep breath (and maybe some L'Chaim!) and have fun.

Rabbi Avrohom

 

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